The chef of La Salita (1* Michelin, Valencia) was crowned today in Brussels with a double award: Best Female Vegetable Chef in Europe and Discovery Award of Spain 2023 for her restaurant La Salita, ranked #16 in the Top100 according to the We’re Smart Green Guide
- Begoña Rodrigo, chef and owner of the restaurant La Salita, with a Michelin star in the Valencian capital, has been named Second Best Female Vegetable Chef in the World by the Green Guide We’re Smart, thus becoming the Best Female Vegetable Chef in Spain, and Europe.
- In addition, her restaurant La Salita, distinguished with 5 Radishes and first restaurant in Spain in We’re Smart’s Top100 (#16) has been awarded the “We’re Smart Discovery Award for Spain 2023″, an award that annually recognizes the efforts of new talents.
- We’re Smart, undisputed world culinary reference in the field of fruits and vegetables, has delivered today at a prestigious event at the Vaudeville Theatre in Brussels the awards for the Best Vegetable Restaurant in the World, Best Vegetable Chefs and a selection of innovative sustainable and healthy projects.
- The Top-100 is part of the growing Green Guide of We’re Smart, which evaluates about 1,200 restaurants in 50 countries around the world and classifies them from 1 to 5 Radishes, based on the use of fruits and vegetables in their dishes. The restaurants that get 5 radishes are authentic pioneers and benchmarks in this regard.
- The Top-100 is part of the growing Green Guide of We’re Smart, which evaluates about 1,200 restaurants in 50 countries around the world and classifies them from 1 to 5 radishes, based on the use of fruits and vegetables in their dishes. The restaurants that get 5 radishes are authentic pioneers and benchmarks in this regard.
- Begoña Rodrigo is passionate about the garden, the roots, the vegetables, the tubers. From the vegetable world as a whole. She works with herbs, truffles, and rescues products from the Valencian orchard that have been forgotten or neglected, and respects the times of the seasons. Pickles, raw, in stews, even in the sweet part, the products of the orchard are present in a range of elaborations.
Brussels, October 24th 2023. Begoña Rodrigo, chef of the restaurant La Salita, which since 2019 shines with a Michelin Star, has stood out today as a great winner at the awards ceremony of the Green Guide We’re Smart, undisputed world culinary reference for fruits and vegetables in the culinary world.
On the one hand, she has been named Second Best Female Vegetable Chef in the World, among a selection of 10 chefs with the Japanese Keiko Kuwakino of the restaurant Sanaburi (Japan) in the lead, thus becoming the Best Female Vegetable Chef in Europe. For the first time, We’re Smart World has selected the 10 Best Lady chefs in the world, with the aim of “creating an international movement of chefs, restaurants, food companies and other stakeholders, rewarding the best vegetable chefs internationally, to show that there are opportunities, and that success and a high-level career are also achievable for women,” said Frank Fol, creator of We’re Smart. With this new award, Best Vegetable Lady Chef, We’re Smart honors chefs who strive to make the menu of their restaurants as vegetable as possible. The winners are benchmarks for other chefs, as they exemplify the philosophy behind the We’re Smart: Think Vegetables! Think Fruit.
On the other hand, her restaurant La Salita, distinguished with 5 Radishes and ranked #16, and therefore first restaurant in Spain in We’re Smart’s Top100, has been awarded the “We’re Smart Discovery Award 2023 for Spain Award” that annually recognizes the efforts of new talents. Each year, three restaurants per country compete for the Discovery Award, and it is only called if there are at least three new discoveries with at least four radishes in the country. The three nominees from Spain for this edition, announced last August, were La Salita (Valencia), L’Antic Molí (Ulldecona), and La Aquarela (Gran Canaria).
As every year, the international team of experts from We’re Smart draws up the list of the best vegetable and fruit restaurants in the world, and during the gala, awards have been given to the Best Vegetable Restaurant in the World, Best Vegetable Chefs and a selection of innovative sustainable and healthy projects. In addition, the Top-100 of the growing We’re Smart Green Guide has been announced, which evaluates about 1,200 restaurants from 50 countries around the world and classifies them from 1 to 5 radishes, based on the use of fruits and vegetables in their dishes. The restaurants that get 5 radishes are authentic pioneers and benchmarks in this regard.
“15 years ago, we created our first vegetarian menu in La Salita. Since then, we have invested a lot of time into research, creativity and innovation in a natural way, because what you are passionate about does not suppose an effort. I am immensely grateful for this recognition, which places value on our work for so many years, and encourages us to keep going” said the chef after the announcement of her multiple recognitions during the We’re Smart Awards 2023.
Begoña Rodrigo makes kitchen garden, using the products of the Valencian orchard as a base and working with the interior recipes of her region, since she is from the Serranía Valenciana. In her dishes, the chef rescues the flavors of her homeland, and works the taste memory.
The chef is passionate about the orchard, roots, vegetables, tubers. From the vegetable world as a whole. She seeks its freshest part through the thickets, herbs, truffles, and rescues products from the Valencian orchard that have been forgotten or neglected, and respects the times of the seasons. Pickles, raw, in stews, even in the sweet part, the products of the garden are present in a range of elaborations.
For such, she actively collaborates with local producers, such as Asier, Arat Natura, forestry engineer and farmer, with which she jointly develops new crops, experiments with varieties of mushrooms, chilies, edible flowers or mini vegetables.
About Begoña Rodrigo
Born in Valencia in August of 1975, Begoña Rodrigo is a self-taught chef who did not enter the world of cuisine in a conventional way.
She studied industrial engineering, but at the age of 20 she travelled to Amsterdam in search of an experience. She began cooking in 1995 at the Amsterdam Marriott Hotel under the orders of Nick Reade, and for eight years she worked in the Netherlands while traveling around the world in search of new flavors.
In 2003 she moved to London where to work at Aquarium. Two years later she returned to her hometown, and after a few months at “La Sucursal” (1* Michelin), she opened her first restaurant, La Salita, in November 2005.
Despite being pure character, inside and outside the kitchen, Begoña Rodrigo likes being a host and defines La Salita, as “a space where illusions, dreams and respect are possible”. After 10 years touring the world she moved back to Valencia to inaugurate her restaurant, which today is also her home. She is an inspiring, real woman with strong and clear ideas.
Her effort to recover the recipe book of her land,her exhaustive search for the best local product, and the balance, technique and beauty of each dish, are a reflection of the overwhelming personality of Begoña Rodrigo in the kitchen.
About La Salita
In November 2005, chef Begoña Rodrigo opened ‘La Salita’ in Valencia, her most personal project with which she sought to convey everything that had been assimilated throughout her career. Fourteen years later, she was awarded her first Michelin star.
Currently located within a wonderful palace in the district of Ruzafa in Valencia, the restaurant La Salita embodies the fruits of perseverance, effort and dedication. For years, chef Begoña Rodrigo dreamed of moving her Salita to this building packed with history. The space reflects the light of Valencia. With an exterior terrace in which guests can enjoy the first appetizers of the menu when the sun is out, and, inside, a dining room in two floors. The wine cellar occupies a room that maintains its original structure and wooden beams. The rest of the space also preserves some elements of the original construction, such as the wooden doors, or the ceramic floors.
Within this refuge, chef Begoña Rodrigo upholds her roots, her territory, her identity. For such, she relies on an extensive network of orchards, farmers with name and surname, and whose advice she fully trusts to later develop complex recipes from the most interesting products that her land has to offer.
The front-of-house is led by Sergio Rodrigo, and the cellar, by Jorne Buurmeijer, first sommelier to obtain a Master in Valencian Wines, who has designed the wine list of La Salita around them, always leaving room for the great undisputed wines of Spain, and of Europe.
About We’re Smart
We’re Smart World is the undisputed world food reference for fruits and vegetables. Created by Frank Fol, Vegetable Chef, the organization recognizes and promotes people, restaurants and other companies that put fruits and vegetables at the center of the food world. Published annually, the We’re Smart culinary guide presents the world’s best vegetable restaurants classified from 1 to 5 “Radishes”.
In turn, We’re Smart’s annual awards recognize the best restaurants and vegetable organizations of the year. And finally, We’re Smart Academy offers the world’s best vegetable cooks a forum to share their knowledge with anyone interested in healthy and organic food. These are just some of the ways We’re Smart contributes to nurturing a healthy, sustainable and ecological world. We’re Smart was chosen by the Belgian government as one of the official voices of the SDGs: designated ambassadors of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
More information at: weresmartworld.com
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